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Because of the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in my city and because of my obligations as a college student, I predict that I will not be able to ride my bike for more 3-5 weeks. I have just deep cleaned my bike, degreased, relubed it and everything, I'm going to park it in its stand and have a rainproof and dustproof bike cover over it that completely covers the bike and the stand. I plan to not do anything with it. When I finally get around to ride it, I'll definitely give it a deep clean again. Are there any negative effects to leaving my bike this way? Any components that need to be "aired out"?

Additional info: I've kept my bike in the garage with no cover for the four years I've owned it, with it getting splashed by whatever I do in there and dust accumulating being the only problems. Rain is not an issue. Climate in my region usually consists of heavy rains, and very hot days.

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    The only real hazard is exposure to petroleum fumes. This can cause the tires to deteriorate. Oh, and if possible suspend the bike or store it upside down, to avoid long-term load on the tires. – Daniel R Hicks May 30 at 13:45
  • Fantastic idea, I'll definitely have it suspended! Good point about the petroleum fumes too, while I don't think that'll be an issue, it's still good to know! Thank you!! – SEBASZCHAN May 31 at 4:55
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    The main danger is to your own cardio-vascular health ;-). As an aside, you don't bike because of COVID? That's a non-sequitur -- outdoor infections are extremely rare even in stationary events and I'd be surprised if there is a single one while biking world-wide. – Peter - Reinstate Monica May 31 at 7:40
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica how I wish that were the case. Unfortunately a section of our town is on lockdown because a few families have been infected, some have lost their lives already. It is because of this lockdown that I cannot bike around town, much less visit other towns with my bike, because the only people allowed to be on bikes are people who bike to work, and I don't qualify (I'm a student). The biking community here even stopped biking events and the people I ride with are in the same boat are in lockdown too. We're COVID-free, but we can't get go biking 'til the lockdown is over. – SEBASZCHAN Jun 1 at 8:42
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    @SEBASSZCHAN Sorry to hear about the bad situation (I see you are in the Philippines). Good luck to you and the ones around you. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jun 1 at 9:11
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3-5 weeks? And you assume there'll be "negative long-term effects"? Hell no!

I have a bike I built in 2013. I rode it for about a year and half actively after building it, and then about a year very rarely after the active period.

Then, in 2017, I stored the bike outdoors in an area where sunlight hits. It was outdoors for year and half. Then I stored it in a sheltered area where sunlight doesn't hit. In middle of 2020, I started to ride the bike again.

The only bad effects from storing the bike outdoors were:

  • The rubber in brake lever hoods was sticky (I had to change them)
  • The rear rim brake pad screws had some amount of surface rust (I don't care as long as they work)
  • The rear hub made of high polish aluminum (FH-T670) had the hub shell somewhat oxidized (I don't care as long as they rotate)
  • There was no air in the tires (I pumped them)

That's all. All of the rubber other than the brake lever hoods was fine. Brake pads were as good as new. Tires showed no damage apart from lack of air inside them. Inner tubes still held air. There still was enough chain lubricant to ride the bike for 400 kilometers (and the lubricant was probably ridden about the same distance, 400 kilometres, before the storage so the total longevity of 800 kilometers approximately sounds about right).

I'd say that 3-5 weeks in sunlight won't damage anything in your bike, not even the brake hoods. My hoods were damaged because the period was longer than a year.

Just remember that in high pressure road bike tires, 3-5 weeks is enough to reduce the pressure to so low that you'll get a pinch flat instantly. If you have a fatbike, then it maintains enough pressure for about a year, because the air volume is high and pressure differential is low.

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  • Nice! I understand 3-5 weeks isn't long-term by any means, I was just more curious about any components that need to extra attention when inspecting the bike after being stored for some time. I'm glad your bike experienced very little wear in your case, you sharing you experience has definitely alleviated a few worries of mine. The note about the pressure and oxidization was something I haven't thought of so big thanks to making me aware of that, and thanks for the input in general :)) – SEBASZCHAN May 30 at 9:53
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    A couple of months is usually no problem. Over longer term, rubber can degrade (tyres crack, brake pads etc), lubricants can gum or dry out and rodents can gnaw outer casings. Aesthetically, polished surfaces can dull. @SEBASSZCHAN – JoeK May 30 at 10:04
  • @JoeK noted. Good to know what to look for in general, especially the tyres and the brake pads since these will have a significant effect on how the bike rides and if the bike rides when pulled out of storage. Thank you! – SEBASZCHAN May 30 at 11:43
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    @JoeK Worth noting that these things happen over such periods of time whether you ride a bike or not. So whatever you do after x weeks, do it when you take it out of storage. Minus mechanical wear. – Peter - Reinstate Monica May 31 at 7:43

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